You may remember the story from several days back, regarding a new policy for schools in Springfield, Illinois. Over the weekend, the diocese posted a responseto the article in question, published in the Springfield newspaper:
First, it is important to state that the Catholic Church invites all people to an encounter with Jesus Christ and the truths he teaches about our identity as children of God and the moral standards living this identity demands. We do not “target non-Catholics,” nor do we seek to exclude anyone. This is true of our parishes, as well as our schools.
Indeed, many of these teachings are difficult, but the church did not invent them — Jesus revealed them. They are found clearly in sacred scripture, and the church is the servant to these truths, not the author.
Secondly, our school policy merely states openly and clearly that our schools will teach the fullness of revealed truth about God and the demands of Christian life. We believe that parents are the first teachers of faith to their children. When we partner with a parent in the education and formation of their child it is only fair that parents understand they are engaging in an education inclusive of this teaching.
The heart of the Family School Agreement is in this paragraph:
“As parents we ask parish to help us provide our child(ren) with a Catholic education. We understand and agree that our child(ren) will be taught the teachings of the Catholic Church in their fullness even if we are living a way of life that is contrary to those teachings. We also understand that if we do not live in accord with Church teaching, we are expected to discuss with the pastor of our Catholic parish ways in which we could. We further accept a commitment to the stewardship way of life as practiced in our parish. We pledge our full cooperation with the school and parish to prepare our child(ren) to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. We will make every effort to supervise our child(ren)’s commitment to this agreement.”
The policy does not, as was suggested, demand that school parents live these teachings perfectly. We are all imperfect, and the role of our parishes and schools is to help adults and children alike grow in virtue and enjoy the grace of the sacraments as an aid to strive for perfect living. Jesus himself said, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17).